Tobacco group Philip Morris International will stop selling Marlboro cigarettes in Britain within a decade, its chief executive told the Daily Mail, in line with the country's wider ambition to stamp out smoking by 2030.
"I think in the UK, ten years from now maximum, you can completely solve the problem of smoking," chief executive officer Jacek Olczak said in the report, adding that it would require the help of governments and regulators.
Doing its part, Olczak said the Marlboro brand "will disappear" from British store shelves along with its other brands, ending a more than 100-year association with the country.
Olczak, who has embarked on a more aggressive strategy to diversify the world's largest tobacco company away from cigarettes, has previously called on Britain to treat cigarettes like petrol cars and ban them in 10 years time, reported the Telegraph.
The $153 billion-dollar company sells Marlboro cigarettes outside the United States, after it split off from parent company Altria in 2008. Altria sells Marlboro in the U.S.
Earlier this month, Philip Morris launched a £1.05 billion bid for British asthma drug-maker Vectura as part of its "evolution into a broader healthcare and wellness company," that will also see it get more than 50% of its revenue from smoke-free products and at least $1 billion from products beyond nicotine by 2025.
The Guardian reported that the deal has received backlash from anti-tobacco groups and has spurred a reaction from the World Health Organization, which called such healthcare partnerships by Big Tobacco as undermining its progress on controlling its "deadly products."